Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Job Board Abyss

Two pieces about social media and recruiting that forecast similar ideas: many organizations are using recruitment approaches that are so, well…. 2007.

The Wall Street Journal highlights organizations that are bypassing resumes and instead exploring a candidate’s “web presence” to determine organizational fit. Along with online surveys, social media tools such as LinkedIn are providing better information about a potential employee than a resume. And speaking of “resume caverns,” this piece over at the Sirona Says blog indicates that recruitment professionals, in general, are still stuck in neutral. Many are either not up to date on new recruitment trends and/or don’t have the right skills.  Money quote:

Job seekers (the lifeblood of recruiters) are suffering from ‘job board-itus’ and are now using less job boards. YET recruiters are now using more job boards in the hope they will find the people they want. Only one answer to that – DIMINISHING RETURNS.

Shrinking returns indeed. Fee-paying organizations are getting tired of tossing money into the resume pit. Today’s job seekers know that using a job board in hopes of finding employment is equivalent to taping a resume to the Great Wall of China in hopes a recruiter will walk by and notice it. Not-going-to–happen. Well, at least not for the majority of them.

Social media is here to stay – so use it.

The Latino Workforce: Engage Before They Walk in the Door

I was browsing through the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program website today (BMPP) exploring their State of Metropolitan America data maps – lots of great information about demographic and social trends impacting the country. Here are two maps I generated comparing Hispanic and non-Hispanic White Median Hourly Wages (click maps to enlarge):

Startling. In regards to these disparate numbers – the associated BMPP report shares this:

 … In 1999, the high-to-low wage ratio—a broad measure of earnings inequality that captures just how far high wage earners have “pulled away” from low wage earners—stood at 4.5; by 2008, it had risen to 5.0, reversing a trend of declining wage inequality in the late 1990s.7 This inequality in turn is associated with unequal wage outcomes in the labor market for workers with different characteristics. For example, middle-wage male workers make 21 percent more than middle-wage female workers; white workers make 29 percent more than black workers and 48 percent more than Hispanic workers…

Obviously, there are many factors impacting these numbers: education, cost of living, age, etc. However, these stark numbers do illustrate that fundamental change across all spheres of our society must occur in order to impact these economic disparities.

In regards to organizations and the Latino workforce – fundamental change will take more than simply creating pro-inclusive policies, implementing diversity initiatives, or designing simple employee resource group models. These types of strategies help but don’t address the underlying issue seen in these maps.

Change demands that organizations craft long-term strategies which will help foster the development and betterment of the Latino community as a whole. It begins with taking an interest in the Latino community and the Latino workforce well before Latino talent enters a company’s walls.

The Non-Linear Workforce

Excellent thoughts via Ben Casnocha regarding the realities of today’s jobs and careers. Indeed, much has changed and Ben does a great job of illustrating his point using a career “escalator.” Today, reaching the next level in one’s career means more than waiting in line and taking the escalator up:

 What’s replaced the career escalator? There’s no single metaphor that universally describes the 21st century career journey. For those who lack globally competitive skills (and yet who are simultaneously overqualified for low-skill labor), the current environment feels like slogging through a tar pit. For people with the relevant skills, the journey is like a vast ocean voyage: unpredictable waves, multiple routes to arrive at a destination, the need to keep investing in your vessel lest it capsize, the allies who form an armada around you to cross perilous straits.

I’ve shared similar thoughts about careers paths and Latino professionals. It’s all changed and the linear way of thinking – the traditional way thinking – has to change. Attraction, recruitment, and development of Latino talent will require organizations to develop strategies that will support and develop the future workforce.

Is Your Organization Culturally Intelligent?

The rapid expansion of globalization continues to transform American society in a number of ways. We now live and work in an environment that is consistently being influenced by diverse cultures. The same diversity that is changing the American workforce has already transformed many colleges and universities. Students from varying ethnicities including Latinos now constitute a growing part of the student population on many campuses in the United States. It’s a transformation that many colleges and universities are embracing. Hence, it’s logical to assume that much of the Latino talent found on campuses will continue into the work environment.

Employers of all sizes and from various industries are conscious of this trend. Many employers have already grasped the idea that their organizations’ workforce should reflect the broader demographic and social environment in which they operate. But while diverse representation in organizations is important, just as vital is an employer’s ability to manage this diverse workforce. This creates a new set of challenges for employers including the development of new types of leaders skilled in managing an increasingly multicultural workforce. These new generations of leaders will require the ability to identify, understand and appreciate cultural differences – in other words, to be culturally intelligent.

Cultural Intelligence, or CQ, can be described as a person’s ability to relate effectively with people of different cultural backgrounds. By developing this skill, people are better able to engage, manage, and work with diverse work groups. From a Latino intern perspective, CQ can provide considerable value. Take for instance understanding acculturation differences. Acculturation can be described as the process of taking on another culture while keeping aspects of another (original) culture. Studies have demonstrated that Latino acculturation levels vary in the United States. Language, for example, is a cultural characteristic many Latinos hold onto in order to maintain a connection with their heritage, family, and community. On the other hand, English becomes more dominant and important in the workplace or as Latinos become more acculturated.

Employers who have a greater understanding of CQ and its implications are in a better position to connect and manage Latino professionals and talent from differing cultures. Like other intelligences, CQ can be developed in most people with the objective of increasing their confidence in managing employees of different cultures. In future posts, I’ll continue to introduce specific cultural topics and concepts related to Latinos in the workplace that might impact their values, attitudes, communication, and performance.


Latino Talent is Built on Determination

A National Bureau of Economic Research study indicates that college students are working less hours while attending school. The study outlines a few reasons including increased tuition costs as well as the economic situation.

The study makes this conclusion:

In 2009, for the first time ever, 18 to 22 year old high school graduates were more likely to be going to college and not working than they were to be working and not going to college. Employment rates and hours of work among college students in 2009 were near a 30-year low.

However, one chart in the study caught my eye – average weekly hours (worked) by demographic group:

Indeed, there are fewer Latinos working while attending college than in 2000. However, the chart also illustrates that Latinos by far work more hours than any other demographic group while attending college. The chart reveals how much more over a 40 year period.
There are many consequences connected to this issue for Latinos in college – lengthier “to graduation” rates, decreased academic performance, less financial aid, etc.

However, another comes to mind – the determination and robustness of the Latino workforce.

The Future of Work

What’s the future of work?

I came across this incredible video today (h/t Luis Suarez) that captures what I think the future of work will look like – and what it is for me – now.

Over the last few years, I’ve developed multiple identities and/or multiple jobs: college instructor, blogger, entrepreneur, researcher, community activist, and father. Not one of these activities occupies my whole day; I simply navigate between them seamlessly – and not only between eight and five.

Technology, especially social media, has allowed me build a very non-traditional existence. The experience wasn’t planned or expected – it evolved to what it is today. Each is a passion and each experience can be shared with hundreds even thousands of people a day.

In this video, entrepreneur T.A. McCann, rightly blows away the idea of compartmentalized lives. Home. Work. Play. Home. Work.

The future of work will be less rigid or hierarchical.

So very true –especially for me. The lines of my identity have certainly blurred between those who I consider friends and people with who I do work. I really don’t have “co-workers.” I have partners, students, mentees, advisors, teachers, and kids!

In tomorrow’s “work” we build relationships – or not. The future of work is now.

And here I thought I was the only one!

Those So Called Latino Talent Initiatives

Many organizations understand the importance of inclusion to their businesses. Yet, the representation of Latinos in corporations, at all levels, is sparse at best. Certain industries are attempting to change this reality by bringing together stakeholders to discuss the issue. Good for them! Although it might sound flippant, they’re including the most important stakeholders – Latinos!

I’ve spoken with organizations that tell me they’ve formed “committees” or have created “initiatives” to address these same disparity issues. However, participants involved in these efforts aren’t chosen based on experience but rather function. In other words, individuals tasked to help transform the organization have little or no relevant background in Latino culture.

I’m amazed by how many forward-thinking companies still omit this basic component. The importance of Latino representation in this regard goes beyond an issue of “fairness.” If organizations expect to increase the long-term representation of Latino professionals in their organizations, it’s vital they include the very people that understand the Latino perspective.

Social Media – Not Job Boards – Build Diverse Talent Pools

A great video shared by Sirona Says regarding recruiting’s “perfect storm.” A lot to consider in the video, and I agree that many organizations (and recruiters) are still not embracing social media as a viable recruitment tool.

When you consider the opportunity social media provides in helping build diverse and multicultural talent pools, it’s impracticable for organizations not to use these it. Building diverse talent pools, by the way, takes more than just using LinkedIn and job boards.


Career Center Evolution – Again

Penolope Trunk predicts career centers will become the campus “gods” in 2012 – and the role of the career center director will surpass that of certain academics:

The value in the school is the jobs kids get after they graduate. For some schools, just the name of the school will open doors. For most schools, though, this is not true. And for those schools, the career center has an opportunity to add huge value to the diploma.

At some point, university administrators will stop courting physics professors and start courting a high-profile head of the career center. Because right now the career centers are throwing the students under the bus.

The role of college career centers has certainly changed over the last few decades – I even wrote a paper about the topic in graduate school!  In era of virtual networking, recruiting, and interviewing via social media and other technology, career centers will need to redefine their roles once again. What value are career centers providing tech savvy students who in many instances know more about Web 2.0 tools than they do?